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So you just purchased your first DJI drone, and you are excited to fly it. You take your drone outside to have some fun with it and explore its capabilities. You’d like to try and see how far you can fly your new drone and still have enough power remaining for it to come back to you. You continue doing all this over the coming weeks and months, and you are so pleased with the performance of your drone. But one day, you take it a bit too far, and your drone doesn’t come back. It gets lost, and you have no idea what to do. So, what should you do if your DJI drone gets lost?
Find out whether the drone is still airborne and ensure the remote remains connected. Go to the drone’s last known location and if you still can’t find it, check the flight logs to get an idea of where to search for it. Make sure your search is methodical.
In this article, we are going to discuss in detail what happens if you lose your DJI drone, whether DJI will replace a lost drone, whether you can track a lost DJI drone, and what you should do if you lose your DJI drone.
What if I lost my DJI drone? #
So, you may have been enjoying your drone over a couple of weeks or months, only for you to lose it suddenly. Understandably, you freak out and wonder whether you will be able to get it back or not. A lost drone is honestly one of the worst nightmares of any pilot.
Considering the price of a drone (hundreds or potentially thousands of dollars), losing one can be a harrowing and troubling experience. Not only do you lose expensive equipment, but you also lose all the raw footage you may have saved on your drone’s internal memory or SD card. There’s also the fact that you don’t know where, into what, or onto whom your drone has landed.
According to a GPS tracking company called Trackimo, 30% of owners lose their drones completely and never retrieve them. Sometimes, you may find it if you lose your drone; other times, tracking it down can be hectic.
Losing your DJI drone might happen for several reasons. Determining what caused your drone to get lost in the first place is your first step towards finding it.
Dropped connection #
First of all, the connection between your drone and controller could have dropped. This may result in disabling the live feed from your camera, or you may stop the controls from getting through to your drone. Either of these can quickly lead to a crash. If this is the case, it would be best if you determined the direction in which your drone was heading.
If there are any obvious impediments the drone might have hit before coming down, inspect such areas too.
Some models have a feature that will cause the drone will hover in place or return to your home point if the connection drops. If you’ve lost connection to the controls or live feed, it may indicate that your drone isn’t flying off into the distance but that it is heading autonomously back to its starting point.
A fault or interference #
Something else that may be responsible for you losing your drone is that a fault or Interference may disrupt the controls and cause your DJI drone to fly away. In such an instance, location markers can help you find your drone.
Bad weather #
Bad or unusual weather can cause your drone to lose its signal and get lost. A sudden wind burst or a heavy wind can cause your drone to get out of control. Even a sudden cloudburst of rain or snow can hinder the signal and cause it to get lost. If this happens, check the drone’s last known location, and search the ground in the surrounding areas.
Software/hardware malfunction #
This isn’t so much of a regular occurrence. It does, however, happen and can cause flyaways leading to your drone getting lost.
Running out of battery #
This counts as one of the most avoidable situations, which is why I recommend you keep an eye on your battery levels throughout your flight to make sure it’s fully charged before takeoff. If by chance your drone should run out of battery, then it may very well get lost, unless the drone has an automatic return to home feature when the battery hits a critically low level.
Did your DJI drone go down over rough terrain? #
It hurts me to say this, but you may have to cut your losses and move on if this is what happened. If your drone falls over terrain that’s hard to navigate, it may be a challenge trying to recover it. If it goes down in deep water like in an ocean or lake, that’s pretty much it.
The same is true for dense woods; you may know where it is, but getting to it is another story altogether.
So, now back to the meat of the problem. What if you lost your DJI drone? What are your options?
The best thing is to try searching the direct flight path between the home point and the last coordinates/direction your drone was flying to. You can also check if there are any buildings or obstacles around where you may have struck down your DJI drone. You can also access the flight log from the Fly App to see where your DJI drone was last.
But most of all, if you lose your DJI drone, don’t panic. Take your time and analyze your options.
Will DJI replace a lost drone? #
Losing a DJI drone is one of the most frightening experiences ever. As we have already mentioned earlier in the article, 30% of people who lose their drones never recover them. So it only makes sense that you should wonder whether DJI will replace a lost drone.
Well, most manufacturers, for the most part, won’t replace lost drones. Such manufacturers will only try and help you recover it by analyzing your flight logs, but they won’t do anything more than that.
However, DJI is not just any manufacturer. DJI is generally known for its above-average customer service record and willingness to help its users. That said, will they replace a lost drone?
This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a direct answer. I’m afraid DJI will not replace just any lost drone belonging to one of its customers. But before you lose hope completely, you’ll be happy to know that there is an exception, you just have to prepare for it in advance. DJI can replace some lost drones provided they had DJI Flyaway Coverage. If your drone didn’t have this coverage, then they will not replace your drone.
You’ll be happy to know that DJI now offers a kind of added insurance for select drones in the form of DJI Flyaway Coverage which is part of the DJI Care Refresh service. This worry-free program replaces drones that unexpectedly fly off and get lost.
The DJI Care Refresh package is essentially an insurance policy for your drone and offers a replacement service for drones that get damaged or, in this case, get lost. DJI offers replacement units in such cases.
Flyaway Coverage means that if your drone gets lost when you are out flying it, then all you need to do is pay a corresponding service fee to get a replacement unit from DJI. Flyaway Coverage is part of the DJI Care Refresh plan, and it is available for the DJI Mini 2 and Mavic Air 2 drones. If in the past you purchased the DJI Care Refresh plan for either of these two products, you can also get this coverage to secure yourself in case your drone gets lost.
With this service, you can replace a lost drone at a lower cost. Brand new, the Mavic Air 2 is $799, and the Mini is $449. Under the Flyaway Coverage, replacing the Mavic Air 2 is $399, and the DJI Mini 2 is $225.
After you purchase the DJI Care Refresh package, if you wish to include the Flyaway Coverage option, you’ll have to pay the corresponding service fee each time you apply for a replacement in case your DJI drone gets lost.
For Flyaway Coverage, you have a one-time limit. This means that DJI will only replace your drone once if it gets lost. DJI also offers a second-year extension plan, called DJI Care Refresh Plus that involves a second premium fee, but offers more and covers up to three accidents and two flyaways.
To use the Flyaway Coverage, you must bind your DJI account and remote controller with your aircraft using the DJI Fly app. Suppose you don’t perform this binding operation before experiencing a flyaway incident. In that case, you cannot use the Flyaway Coverage, and you won’t get a replacement for your drone.
While you don’t expect your drone to fly off on its own, sometimes it can happen, and your drone may get lost. Some DJI drones, such as the Mini 2, are lightweight and can easily be pushed around by prevailing winds. So it’s always worth it getting the Flyaway Coverage added onto your DJI Care Refresh plan, so you can get a replacement drone in case yours gets lost.
Can you track a lost DJI drone? #
If your DJI drone is lost, then the good news is that in many cases you can track it down. You can do so by checking the flight logs. Essentially, to track your DJI drone:
- Go to the DJI app.
- Go to “Me” in the bottom right-hand corner and select “Flight Logs.”
- Click on “Flight List,” and the app will bring up all your flights.
You will get a map of where you were flying the drone, and you can use this to pinpoint exactly where your drone was last seen.
Some people choose to install tracking devices on their drone to make sure they can find it in case it gets lost, without needing to rely on flight logs. Flight logs give you a good starting place to look for a lost drone, but can’t tell you the exact final resting place of your drone. A tracking device can lead you straight to where the drone has come down to land.
But again, a tracking device will only help if you have installed it before the drone went down!
What can you do if you lose your drone? #
In this section, we go through some of the steps you should take if you lose your drone.
Find out whether the drone is still airborne. #
As soon as you realize your drone is lost, you first of all need to establish whether or not it’s still in the air. Sight and sound will come in handy here, and luckily, most drones are loud enough for you to hear from a good distance away.
If you can still hear the drone flying, be calm and head towards it. If it was a case of lost connection, this is your best bet at stopping the flyaway while it’s happening. If it’s a case of hardware or software malfunction, gather as much evidence as possible so that you can back up your claim and report it to the manufacturer immediately.
Ensure the remote is connected #
Regardless of what happens, make sure you keep the drone remote turned on and connected to the drone. Even if some time passes and you still haven’t found your drone, the remote can be a great tool to help you track down where your drone was last seen. If the drone still has battery life remaining, disconnecting the remote could cause it to fall out of the sky. So always make sure you keep the remote connected.
Go to the drone’s last known location #
Some drones, like DJI drones, are equipped with GPS technology that runs the app. This is great because it can help you find out the last known location of the drone. You can also consider getting a GPS tracker for your drone as added security. You’ll be able to access the tracker and find your drone quickly and without much fuss.
Check the flight logs #
One more handy feature that drones come equipped with is flight logs. Flight logs can help you access the last physical location of your drone, so you know exactly where to go in search of it. By accessing the flight logs, you’ll get information about all your flights.
Thanks to the flight logs, you’ll be able to see exactly where you were flying your drone. This will help you in pinpointing almost exactly where the drone was before you lost it.
If you lose your drone and are actively searching for it, the best way to ensure you stay on top of things is to ensure your search is methodical. Take note of the areas you have searched, and though it may seem old school, print out a map of the area you are searching and check off visited spots. When searching, do so high and low. This means searching roof gutters, trees, and also small bushes and shrubs.